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Chiara Porro, centre, with Pope Francis and Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann on May 31 (Facebook/Fr Frank Brennan)

Marking the annual International Day of Women in Diplomacy, Australian ambassador to the Holy See, Chiara Porro, has discussed the challenges and rewards of the job and the crucial perspective women bring to international relations. Source: Vatican News.

“It’s wonderful to be celebrating women in diplomacy each year,” Ms Porro said in marking the day, celebrated every June 24. 

She said the diplomatic service had been traditionally male-dominated, the Australian Foreign Service had addressed this issue, and over the past six years there had been a “real push to promote women in leadership”. The figures show this as five or six years ago women made up only 20 per cent of their ambassadors, whereas now “we make up over 40 per cent of all our ambassadors around the world.”

Representing the diverse face of the nation as ambassador, in Australia it also means representing the voice of the many First Nations People in the country. 

“It’s become very much a central part of our foreign policy to ensure that our First Nations heritage and culture is known around the world. It makes us who we are and so it’s incredibly important for us to bring these Indigenous voices to the world stage,” she says.

The Holy See and Australia work well together in this regard and Ms Porro noted that just a few weeks ago, Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann travelled to the Vatican and met Pope Francis. Ms Porro said Dr Ungunmerr-Baumann spoke to the Pope about “what her culture brings, her experience in education, her experience with Indigenous art, in overcoming barriers, creating bridges between different communities in Australia”.

Ms Porro expressed her gratitude for having been chosen for this role in the Holy See and it has been “incredibly inspiring, over the past three years, to work with my fellow women ambassadors here.”

“There are around 25 of us now, even more, if you count some of the attachés, and we’re quite a formidable group,” she said. 


Australia’s Ambassador to Holy See: Women diplomats in Vatican a ‘formidable group’ (By Francesca Merlo, Vatican News)